Yogesh Ravichandar is a senior architecture student at MNM Jain School of Architecture in India, and he just completed a summer internship in the Denver architecture studio. The following is Yogesh’s personal account of not only his first time visiting the United States, but his first time working in an American architecture studio.
Just like many students, I had no idea what to do after graduating from high school. But I was very sure that I wanted to study something related to art. So when I started learning about architecture, my intuition said "Go for it!"—and I did.
As part of my curriculum in college, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and do an internship abroad. While doing research on where to go, I came across an ArchDaily 2014 ranking of the top 300 architecture firms in the United States. HDR’s architecture company was ranked No. 7. I started following the company’s Facebook page and I liked their projects and their work life, so I decided to do an internship there.
On my first day in the Denver office, I arrived dressed up professionally on the outside—but I was dressed up with excitement, hope and inspiration on the inside. It was so nice to see a familiar face—(Amanda Owens, project architect, who oversees the intern program in the Denver architecture studio)—after meeting more than 50 new faces in less than a week's time.
I had the opportunity to work on several projects during my internship. I was so proud to be part of the renovation of the Wyoming Capitol Square project. Who wouldn’t be? It's a historical building. I had the chance to work with both young and experienced minds, and their approach to the preservation and design details, work coordination, etc., gave me a great sense of how things work on a large-scale renovation project.
I also got to work on a submittal for a downtown Denver 16th Street Mall prototype street competition, as well as on Beeler Park's shade structure in Stapleton. I had a chance to present my design portfolio to the entire studio as well.
It’s hard to choose my favorite part of my time in the Denver studio, but if I had to pick it would be the extra activities that took place during and outside of work hours. These included:
-HDR’s Toastmasters club: I learned how to improve my public speaking skills.
-Cleworth Architectural Legacy (CAL): I worked with elementary school kids on an architecture project.
-The AIA’s Young Architects Awards Gala (YAAG) competition: I learned how to present projects for a competition.
-Denver Public Schools’ CareerX job shadow event: I was part of a team that helped high school students learn about different careers in architecture and engineering.
-The office’s Lego bear: I was part of a team that designed and executed this fun project for an internal program.
-Lunch-and-learns: I heard about new building materials on the market.
Internal staff meetings: It felt so good to have my work appreciated.
All good dreams must come to an end, right? So did my internship. I would highly recommend HDR to my friends. Wait, I already started doing that! Everything I learned was unexpected. Now that I have had real-life experience, I am even more inspired to continue pursuing architecture, to innovate and to create my own unique architectural language.
HDR has shown me that when your workplace is employee-friendly, you can be more creative and efficient. So if I happen to start my own firm in the future, I will make sure that the environment is favorable to the employees.
Thank you for all of the wonderful opportunities, HDR!